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Film / Touchez pas au grisbi

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Max the ladies' man

Touchez pas au grisbi ("Don't Touch the Loot") is a 1954 film directed by Jacques Becker, starring Jean Gabin.

Gabin is Max, an aging criminal and hoodlum. He and his partner, Riton, have pulled off a heist in which they stole eight large gold ingots from Orly airport. Unfortunately for Max, Riton blabbed about the heist to his moll Josy (Jeanne Moreau in one of her first big roles). Josy then told her new boyfriend, the much younger gangster Angelo (Lino Ventura in his film debut). And Angelo is coming after the gold.

Max narrowly escapes a trap laid by Angelo's goons, then retrieves the gold from its hiding place and drops it off with his uncle, a fence. Riton however continues to make his partner's life difficult by blundering into a second trap. Max briefly considers abandoning Riton to his fate but eventually decides to rescue his friend.


A career-restoring role for Jean Gabin, who had been in a long, long slump ever since World War II. Max's girlfriend Betty was played by an American actress, Marilyn Buferd, who previously was Miss America 1946.


  • Bad-Guy Bar: Max and his friends hang out at a small restaurant, which looks much nicer than the standard for this trope. If civilians come in the landlady politely tells them that all of the tables are booked, and recommends the restaurant over the road.
  • Buxom Is Better: Max's suave European charm is rather oddly juxtaposed with an adolescent obsession with breasts.
    • When busty Nana is leading him into Pierrot's office, he honks her boob and says "Shall I help you to carry all that?"
    • And then when Max and even bustier Huguette are kissing and pawing each other, he looks down at her rack and says "It's nice to find one's little friends in good form."
  • The Casanova: Max sure does have a way with the ladies. He has a gorgeous girlfriend in Lola the burlesque dancer, he has a second girlfriend in beautiful Betty, and Huguette the Sexy Secretary is climbing all over him during Max's visit to her boss, the fence.
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  • Criminal Procedural: The film is about a thief who tries to protect his loot, while another mobster tries to extort it from him.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: How Marco, now working for Max, gets the drop on Angelo's mook Fifi.
  • Distressed Dude: Riton is kidnapped by Angelo, who threatens to kill him. Max must rescue him.
  • Downer Ending: The loot is lost, Riton dies, and when Max is told that Riton is dead he has to act like nothing has happened.
  • Driving a Desk: Twice within the same frame. Max's driver is clearly driving a desk through Paris, when he looks into the rear-view mirror and sees a reflection of two mooks driving another desk.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Max paying off a friend's tab at the restaurant establishes him as kind and good-hearted.
  • Family-Friendly Stripper: During the burlesque show, the dancers never get completely naked: they wear skimpy costumes and pasties to cover all naughty bits. However, on a poster in the owner's office, there is a bare-breasted dancer.
  • Fanservice: Lola and Josy in skimpy dance-hall costumes, two secretaries crammed into tight dresses.
    Lola: I had to stay to have my neckline lowered, to show more breast!
  • Fanservice Extra: Lola and Josy the burlesque girls are backed up by even more scantily-clad dancers—all they're wearing above the waist is pasties, in fact.
  • Honor Before Reason: After finding out Riton got captured, Max seriously considers forgetting about him and keeping all the take from the heist for himself. But honor prevails and he decides he has to rescue his friend.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: When Angelo kidnaps Riton, he calls Max and threatens to kill Riton unless Max hands over the gold ingots. Despite Riton's pleas that Max not give in, he agrees to Angelo's terms.
  • I Have Your Wife: Angelo kidnaps Riton, Max's best friend. Then he calls Max and puts Riton on the line. Riton tells Max not to give in. Angelo then tells Max to give the loot in exchange for the life of Riton. Max does as Angelo says.
  • Inner Monologue: Max has one in which he debates whether or not to abandon Riton to his fate.
  • The Load: Riton the idiot, who blabs the secret about the gold in the first place, then gets himself captured by Angelo even after he had a heads-up from Max.
  • Loose Lips: Riton tells his girlfriend Josy about the gold. Josy tells Angelo, who decides to seize the loot.
  • Nothing Personal: On the phone, Angelo tells Max that he has nothing against Max and Riton. He just want to seize the loot.
  • One Last Job: It's already happened. Max states expressly that he wanted the gold heist to be this, that he was going to retire. Riton screws up the aftermath.
  • Sexy Secretary: Pierrot the club owner and crime boss has Nana the sexy secretary, and Oscar has Huguette the sexy secretary. Max feels up the first and makes out with the second.
  • Untranslated Title: The film is known as Touchez pas au grisbi even in English-speaking markets (a rough translation is Don't Touch the Loot).
  • Wet Blanket Wife: The wife of Pierrot, the club owner, tries to dissuade him from getting involved in Max's affairs.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Max slaps both Josy and Lola. To be fair he's super-pissed because Josy betrayed Riton to Angelo.